Tag Archives: Good News

Spreading Good News

Living in the Spirit
August 11, 2017

Scripture Reading: Romans 10:5-15

But how are they to call on one in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in one of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone to proclaim him? And how are they to proclaim him unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!’ –Romans 10:14-15

There is a big difference between bringing good news and assaulting people with my personal beliefs. Working together with diverse viewpoints to find the best way to the Common Good is not the same as working to legislate my perception of morality for everyone. Religious freedom is not the same as religious privilege.

As I walked through the ruins of Ephesus, I could almost feel Paul’s presence. Our guide indicated a worn pillar standing in front of the ruins of a building. He explained that the writings circling the pillar were the names of the elites who followed one of the many gods worshipped by the Ephesians. Not included were any names of people who followed Jesus Christ. Following Jesus Christ was the reason for their names’ exclusion. The guide suggested that perhaps the experience of facing such cultural scorn was the reason the writer of Revelation made reassuring references to the names of followers of Christ written in the book of life.

Followers of Christ do not present an accurate picture of him when we use oppressive techniques or assume elitist attitudes. We make him appear like the idols of old for whom we have such disdain. The truth is we can do nothing to improve or protect God or Jesus Christ or the Holy Spirit. God is omnipotent—all-powerful, omnificent—unlimited, omnipresent—always present. We need to let God be God and work with all our hearts, minds, souls, and strength to share the good news that God loves us—all of us and wants us to love one another.

Prayer: God of Love, help us follow the teaching of St. Francis of Assisi who said Preach the Gospel at all times. When necessary, use words.  Let our love reflect your good news. Amen.

All scriptures are quoted from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights are reserved.

Learning to Love like the Lord

Police BrutalityEastertide
April 28, 2015

Scripture Reading: Acts 8:26-40 The eunuch asked Philip, ‘About whom, may I ask you, does the prophet say this, about himself or about someone else?’ Then Philip began to speak, and starting with this scripture, he proclaimed to him the good news about Jesus. As they were going along the road, they came to some water; and the eunuch said, ‘Look, here is water! What is to prevent me from being baptized? –Acts 8:26-40 

There does not seem to be a lot of good news in our world today. As I write this, the world is responding to a terrible earthquake in Nepal with many dead and most without homes. A few days ago several refugees fleeing from Liberia were killed as the boat they were on capsized. And one more city in the United States has broken out in chaos this time following the funeral of a black man who died in police custody. There does not seem to be a more important time for the Body of Christ to follow Philips example and proclaim the Good News of Jesus.

We, of course, can do this and are doing this by responding in every way we possibly can to help the people of Nepal and to assure that our nation as a whole does what it can.  The same could be said about the Liberian situation although it is not a natural disaster but one brought on by humans. The racism that is ripe in our own country is something we must deal with directly.

I do not know the actual facts about any of the cases that have flared up regarding the police and racism within the police. I do know that these are just the public showing of the undertow of racism across our land. I have had the privilege of working with police officers and know that the vast majority of those with whom I had contact were dedicated people with integrity. The problem is that it only takes one or two to light a fire when people are at the edge of their tolerance. I also know that racism is endemic.  Our behaviors have been so deeply woven throughout our beings that we probably do not recognize our own racist’s actions or reactions.

We need to all join together in, first, seeking God’s forgiveness when we have been a part of furthering racism even when we did not know that was what we were doing. And then we need to take that road less traveled of exploring our own attitudes and actions and changing the ones that are detrimental to the flourishing of the Kingdom of God here on earth.

Prayer: Lord, help us confront that which is uncomfortable and change our ways of being to more closely match your way of loving. Amen.

All scriptures are quoted from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of American. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

The Rock

ChangeLiving in the Spirit
October 29, 2014

Scripture Reading: Psalm 107:1-7, 33-37

Some wandered in desert wastes,
   finding no way to an inhabited town;
  hungry and thirsty,
  their soul fainted within them.
Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
  and he delivered them from their distress;
  he led them by a straight way,
  until they reached an inhabited town. — 107:4-7

Have you ever driven into an unfamiliar area and, become hungry while watching the gas needle edge ever so much closer to that big “E” and begun to wonder if you will ever find a restaurant or service station? The first time I drove from Oklahoma to the east coast down I-40, I had never encountered so many trees blocking the view beyond the road. Oklahoma has a lot of wide open spaces in its landscape. The trees were beautiful but I could not tell where there were places to get gas or food. It was the first time that I had seen highway signs that gave some indication that there were actually places to eat, get gas, or spend the night up ahead. They were needed because I sure could not tell just from scanning the horizon. Now I think I might be lost if I forget my cell phone and do not have access to GPS coordinates that will guide me quickly to exactly what I need, most of the time.

Is that how Moses felt while wondering in the wilderness; how it feels to totally trust in God’s guidance? While we today may think we have the earth well mapped with locational directions a few clicks away, entering the territories of cultures and religions, differing systems of government and economies, and differing socio-economic neighborhoods can be just as daunting as being lost in the wilderness. All kinds of fears crop up: Fears of inadequacy to meet the challenges, fears for safety, fears for loss of self-esteem, and fears of change. We are living in a time of change that is probably more pronounced than the reformation or the industrial revolution. Technology and communications has advanced so quickly that we now can get a nightly report of how many new Ebola cases have occurred in what area of Africa since yesterday.

I am reminded of an old hymn, In Times Like These by Ruth Caye Jones
In times like these, we need a Savior
  In times like these, we need an anchor
  Be very sure, be very sure
 Your anchor holds and grips the Solid Rock

The Good News is that we have just such a Savior.

Prayer: We trust in you, O Lord, help our lack of trust. Amen.

All scriptures are quoted from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of American. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Share the Good News

Living in the Spirit
August 8, 2014

 Scripture Reading: Romans 10:5-15 

But how are they to call on one in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in one of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone to proclaim him? And how are they to proclaim him unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!’ — Romans 10:14-15 

I do not know how many conversations I have had in recent months when someone says something about not being able to get around like they once did and my response is to ask if they have tried yoga. I share the good news that regular use of yoga has made me much more flexible, that the right kind of movement is one of the best things anyone can do for osteoarthritis, and that I am living proof of both. Regarding yoga, I don’t think I press the point too much, but I usually increase their interest. Now, if you get me started on tracing my family tree and encouraging others to do the same, the occasional response is that glassy-eyed look from someone trying to change the subject.

There is a time and place for discussions about what being in relationship with God through Jesus Christ has meant to us. If we know the greatest story ever told, why don’t we tell it? Most of those of us over 50, at least here in the Bible-belt, have been corned at one time or another by an oppressive zealot asking if we have been saved etc. I think in the backs of our minds we do not want to be like them so we don’t say anything at all.

Those of us who are called “cradle Christians” because we were raised in a Christian home and have known no other way of being may take for granted that everyone had the same experience. I learned on my first sleepover with a friend when I was about six that everybody didn’t follow the same routines as my family. My father loved to play the guitar and sing and almost every evening after we children had gone to bed he would sing. On that first sleepover, after lying in bed with my friend for a while, I finally asked her when was her dad going to sing, and she thought I was crazy. There are many young people in the world today who have little knowledge of the Christian faith because they never heard it at home.

Paul challenges us in this scripture today to realize that we cannot take for granted that everyone knows about the Good News of Christ Jesus. We are the ones to share it.

Prayer: O Lord, make me a blessing to someone today and please save me from boring them in the process. Amen.

All scriptures are quoted from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of American. Used by permission. All rights reserved.